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Mistakes cost Bombers in season opener

Turnovers and miscues on special teams were the debilitating factors in Waubun's 35-6 season-opening loss to visiting Kittson Central Thursday.

Playing without many of their normal starters, the Bombers were able to move the ball, but made critical errors when passing Kittson's side of the 50-yard line.

Five turnovers and two big errors on punts gave the Bearcats several short fields, which they cashed in, in the form of 21 points.

"All five but one of the turnovers came in Kittson's territory," said Waubun head coach Jason McCloskey.

"We also had problems punting the ball, with one getting blocks, another tipped and the third snapped over the punter's head.

"You make those type of mistakes on special teams, that really hurts you."

The first punting miscue led to Kittson's first points, after Waubun drove into the Bearcats' territory, but stalled to force a punt.

A Bearcat defender was able to sneak through the line and make the block, giving the visitors very favorable field position, which led to a touchdown soon after.

Sophomore running back Cody Kologi set up Waubun's lone scoring drive with a 58-yard scamper down the sidelines, with sophomore quarterback Nathan Kirsch capping it with a five-yard rushing TD.

The extra point kick was blocked, with the rest of the game going a similar way.

A fumble by Waubun in the first series of the second quarter gave the Bearcats another short field, resulting in a 14-6 lead.

The next series ended with a high snap over the punter's reach and Kittson turned that into a 22-6 halftime lead.

"We just let up a little in the second quarter and the turnover and high snap hurt us," McCloskey said.

A promising drive in the third quarter for the Bombers was shut down with a Bearcat interception.

Two more lost fumbles in the third and fourth quarters ended Waubun drives, as the Bearcats tacked on 13 more points for the 35-6 final score.

"By the fourth quarter, they wore us out," McCloskey said.

"We only dressed 19 players out of 28 who are on the roster."

To add insult to injury, starting running back, junior Sam Lerud had to leave the game with a sprained knee in the third quarter.

"Although we had two starters out of the lineup on the offensive line, that unit played well, giving us a 4.0 yards per carry average," the Waubun coach stated.

"We just lost a little mental focus."

Kirsch played well in his first start at quarterback, going 6-10 with one interception.

"He learned a lot," McCloskey said of his quarterback.

McCloskey is confident in his team when they are back to 100 percent and everyone is back on the field.

"Like I told our players after the game, it's not how you start, but how you finish," he added.

The Bombers will host two-time section champion Ada-Borup Friday for a 7 p.m. start.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.